Legions of caffiene fans know that coffee's so much more than a drink - it has a multitude of uses.

It can be a life saver, kick starting the day, plugging energy gaps, reputedly helping sell houses with its homely aroma and not least smoothing the way to romance via the age-old chat up line, 'fancy a coffee back at my place?' There are, of course, limits - as teenage waitress, Jasmine Willis found out recently. She drank 14 shots of espresso - almost three times the recommended daily amount of caffeine - in just four hours, and had to be taken to hospital with a high temperature and heart palpitations.

She said ruefully: "Coffee's fine in moderation and really does pick you up but I just overdid it. I felt exhausted for days afterwards."

There are other less extreme ways of getting that coffee flavour - by using the ingredient in recipes. Susanna Blake makes that easy with her collection of cakes, desserts and drinks in her new book, Coffee Indulgences.

Susannah says: "Coffee isn't just for enjoying as a drink, it's the perfect flavouring too. Dark and bitter or subtly elusive, the taste of coffee is perfect in pastries, mousses, custards, sauces, creamy desserts, refreshing ices, cookie and cakes and hot and cold drinks."

She demonstrates this with mouth-watering recipes for Coffee, Pecan And Maple Cake, Coffee Cremes Brulees, Dark Mocha And Kahlua Mousse, as well as great summer cocktails like Coffee Granita, or Espresso Martini.

Susannah's chosen Cappuccino Cheesecake "ideal for coffee and a gossip with the girls" and a dinner party dessert, Ground-Coffee Crepes With Vanilla Ice Cream And Coffee Sauce are here for you to try.

(Serves eight)
150g plain chocolate-covered digestive biscuits
60g butter, melted
500g mascarpone
125ml creme fraiche
3tbsp instant coffee, dissolved in 3tbsp just-boiled water
125g caster sugar, plus 1 1/2tbsp for the topping
4 eggs, beaten
240ml sour cream
cocoa powder, to dust
a 20-cm springform cake tin, greased

Put the digestive biscuits in a food processor and process until they become crumbs, then combine with the melted butter. Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth out to make an even base. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Beat together the mascarpone and creme fraiche until smooth, then stir in the coffee and sugar. Stir in the eggs until well mixed.

Wrap the base and sides of the tin in two single sheets of aluminium foil, then pour the masarcarpone mixture over the crumb base.

Put into a roasting tin and pour water around the cake tin so that it reaches half to two-thirds of the way up the sides. Bake for about 50 minutes until set but still soft.

Meanwhile, stir the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar into the sour cream. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, gently spoon over the sour cream, spreading it out evenly, then return to the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then cover and chill for at least four hours or overnight. To serve, carefully unmould and dust with cocoa powder.


(Serves four)
2tbsp fine coffee grounds
115g plain flour
1tbsp caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
280ml milk
Sunflower oil, to grease
Good quality vanilla ice cream, to serve
Coffee Sauce:
120ml double cream
3tbsp freshly brewed espresso
150g white chocolate, roughly chopped

Combine the coffee grounds, flour and sugar in a bowl, then make a well in the centre. Beat the eggs and about a quarter of the milk to make a thick, smooth batter. Gradually beat in the remaining milk, cover and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

To make the coffee sauce, put the cream, espresso and chocolate in a pan and warm gently, stirring, until the chocolate has melted. Keep warm or leave to cool, as desired.

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. To make the pancakes, heat a non-stick frying pan until very hot, then moisten a piece of kitchen paper with sunflower oil and wipe over the surface of the pan.

Add a small ladleful of the batter and swirl to thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook for about one minute until the edges are dry and the crepe golden underneath, then flip over and cook the second side for 30 seconds or so until golden. Keep warm in the oven while you make another seven crepes.

Fold each crepe in half, then into quarters to make a cone shape. Place a ball of ice cream inside each cone. Drizzle with the coffee sauce and serve.


  • The Department of Health advises people not to drink more than five single espressos or four cups of instant coffee a day.
  • Coffee's been found to have health benefits as studies suggest it may protect against the onset of Parkinson's disease and keeps the mind sharp into old age.


Coffee milkshake is a classic summer drink and there's a luxury version which could be irresistible to addicts.

Food writer Susannah Blake's conjured up a Coffee and Vanilla Milkshake with Hot Chocolate Sauce, one of the treats in her new book, Coffee Indulgences Ryland Peters & Small, A£8.99.

She says: "This luxurious milkshake makes a wonderful summer refresher. The sauce thickens as it cools, so work quickly once you've made it - it should be the perfect drizzling consistency when you pour it into the milkshake."

(erves one)
3tbsp espresso, cooled
240ml ice-cold milk
2-3 scoops good quality vanilla ice cream
For the hot chocolate sauce:
1tbsp golden syrup
3tbsp double cream
2tsp cocoa powder.

To make the hot chocolate sauce, put the golden syrup, cream and cocoa powder in a pan and heat gently, stirring, until the mixture just begins to bubble. Remove from the heat.

Put the espresso, milk and one scoop of the ice cream into a blender and blitz to combine. Pour the mixture into a tall glass, add one or two more scoops of ice cream and drizzle over the chocolate sauce. Serve immediately.